Del Lords – How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live?

The title was enough for me to take a listen to this band. They combined 60’s garage rock, country, blues, and folk influences to become one of the many 80’s roots rock bands. 

Thanks to Paul for bringing this band up.

The Del Lords were formed in the early ’80s by Scott Kempner of  New York punk group the Dictators. They emerged from the’70s new wave scene…which the band never quite fit. Kempner gathered together  Eric Ambel of Joan Jett And The Blackhearts, drummer Frank Funero (now with Cracker) and bassist Manny Caiati and set out as The Del-Lords.

How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live? is an American folk song originally recorded 1929 in New York City. It was written, composed, and performed by Blind Alfred Reed, accompanying himself on the violin.

The song tells of hard times during the Great Depression. It is considered an early example of a protest song. In 2020, the song was added to the Grammy Hall of Fame.

The song was on their Frontiers album released in 1984.

The Del-Lords lived together, played together, recorded and released records as a band through 1990.  At the urging of the Spanish Promoter Pepe Ugena they reformed the band in the last decade and recorded and released their most recent music in 2013 on the album Elvis Club.

How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live?

How can a poor man stand such times and live
How can a poor man stand such times and live
How can a poor man stand
How can a poor man stand
How can a poor man stand such times and live

The doctor comes around with his face all bright
And he swears, in a little while, it’ll be alright
All he gives you is a humbug pill
A dose of dope and a great big bill
How can a poor man stand such times and live

There once was a time when everything was cheap
But the prices nowadays nearly put the man to sleep
When we get out grocery bill
Man I feel like makin’ out our will
How can a poor man stand such times and live

How can a poor man stand such times and live
How can a poor man stand such times and live
I give all I’ve got to give
I get my pay and say, is this it
How can a poor man stand such times and live

Tell you what
This poor boy’s got some big plans of his own
I’m gonna call up a coupla friends on the telephone
Tell ’em, Bring some records and bring some beer
Then we can just hang out over here
How can a poor man stand such times and live

How can a poor man stand such times and live
How can a poor man stand such times and live
How can a poor man stand
How can a poor man stand
How can a poor man stand such times
How can a poor man stand such times
How can a poor man stand such times and live
And live

….

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

30 thoughts on “Del Lords – How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live?”

      1. That is a good comparison. I think these guys branched out a little more another songs but yeah yeah

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    1. I’ve read about X but never heard them…that I know of but I will check them out. I thought they were pure punk.

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  1. Thanks for posting Max! I got into this group a few albums after this and liked how they combined a bunch of styles. This one is definitely more on the rockabilly end. I saw them in a little bar in Raleigh NC in late 80s – very high energy show. My friends bailed on me but I stayed and saw them play a Springsteen cover in the encore – maybe Thunder Road?

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    1. That is what I told someone today…they compared them to the Stray Cats…I said yea with this song but they cover a lot of ground.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Speaking of Bruce he also covered this song right after Hurricane Katrina – changed some of the lyrics to fit the disaster and played it during the Seeger Session Tour.
    Killer lines include :

    There’s bodies floatin’ on Canal Street and the levees gone to hell
    Martha, get me my sixteen gauge and some dry shells
    Them who’s got got out of town
    And them who ain’t got left to drown
    Tell me, how can a poor man stand such times and live?

    Still gives me chills when I hear it

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ok can’t help it – here’s Bruce performing it at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival – the first one after the Hurricane Speaks for itself

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Man anytime! Sounds great and as always he has the best…there is no competition, introductions in the business. He puts everything he has into it.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Had not heard of them or the song but I liked it more than I thought I might when I read the description. Another band that deserved a bit more attention than they got from basis of that one.

    Liked by 1 person

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